Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Change of Philosophy Trigger Jays' Success

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Change of Philosophy Trigger Jays' Success

Article excerpt

The building of the Toronto Blue Jays as two-time World Series champions began on Nov. 26, 1990.

That day they ventured into the free-agent market for the first time on a large scale, lavishing a three-year, $6.3 million contract on lefthander Ken Dayley.

Dayley, a former Cardinal who had elbow and vertigo problems, worked only 4 1/3 innings for the Blue Jays over the three seasons he was paid by them. But his signing marked the end of Toronto's policy of building from within, a period that was without success except for two divisional championships.

A week or so later, at the winter meetings, the Blue Jays acquired Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar, two of their foundation players now, from the San Diego Padres. The 1991 Blue Jays made it to the American League Championship Series, but that was not enough.

General manager Pat Gillick signed free agents Jack Morris and Dave Winfield before the 1992 season. That wound up in a World Series title but Gillick turned over nearly half the club and brought in high-salaried players such as World Series Most Valuable Player Paul Molitor and Dave Stewart before this season and Rickey Henderson during it.

A second World Series title arrived Saturday night at Skydome, with an 8-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Major contributions were made by Carter, who hit a game-winning homer run, and Molitor.

Dayley was at his parents' house in Oregon watching the World Series, but it wasn't lost on him that he was the first piece of the puzzle, even though he fell on the floor.

"Obviously they've made some moves in a very positive direction," Dayley said. "They got a lot of people with proven records but they're also quality leaders in the clubhouse."

The Blue Jays had been hesitant to delve into the free-agent market, Dayley thinks, "because of the way the (New York) Yankees had been spending a ton of money without ever putting it together."

"The Blue Jays had a lot of talent come through the organization but it took a couple of experienced guys with leadership," he added.

Twelve of the 25 Blue Jays on this year's World Series winner weren't on the active roster last year. Dayley said that was a necessary cirumstance.

"It would have been tough to repeat if they had the exact same ballclub," he said. "There was a lot of talent they didn't have to let go. On the other hand, some needed to be let go. Whatever they did happened to work out. You've got to give them credit for that.

"They brought in the talent and it's the manager's job to deal with the egos."

The Blue Jays don't seem to be at each other's throats but they also seem to go their own way except on the field.

"It seems in this game," Dayley said, "that the players have gotten away from doing a lot of things together. I don't know what it is. No doubt in Toronto that everybody is kind of nomadic. …

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